What does Frank Zappa have to do with Vilnius? Well, the Lithuanian capital is definitely one of the two places in the world you can see a monument dedicated to his memory. The funny part is that Frank Zappa has absolutely no connection to the city or the country, but his free spirit has been extremely relatable. Sadly, the musician himself never found out about the memorial; he died before the memorial was erected. So pay your respects to the legendary musician while in Vilnius and use it as a starting point to explore the alternative side of the city, including the mural right behind the monument.
The bust has a funny story that started with a visit to the USA by artist Saulius Paukštys, who told everyone a story of how he became friends with Zappa himself. It was all an elaborate lie, but Frank Zappa caught the attention of other artists in Lithuania, becoming a symbol of freedom. Soon after, sculptor Konstantinas Bagdonas, known for his busts of Lenin during Soviet times, created the legendary Zappa statue as a sign of a new era of post-Soviet Lithuania.
The Zappa monument was initially supposed to be erected next to the M. K. Čiurlionis Art Gymnasium, but teachers resisted because the sculpture closely resembled the famous Lithuanian composer the school is named after and they feared the American artist’s music might have a bad influence on the youth. As such, the monument was placed at its current location, where it was unveiled on 17 December 1995. A copy of the sculpture was donated to Zappa’s hometown Baltimore.